Ladies, take a seat because I’m about to spill some tea.
For starters, Muslim boys. I’ve noticed that many of them go on dates, have romantic relationships, what have you. But the problem is, is that if a Muslim girl were to do the same thing, she would be talked about for ages in the Muslim community.
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini describes this inequality perfectly, with Soraya being talked about for long after the one time she had a relationship with a boy. It describes the gender inequality because while her reputation is destroyed as she is undesirable for marriage, the book also points out that boys can go to clubs, party, drink, have relationships with women and are still considered suitable for marriage.
When Soraya ended her relationship and finally came home, her dad had her cut off all of her hair which was considered her most attractive feature.
Why is that? Why is this the norm in society?
Do boys get asked by their families to not go out at night? Do boys get asked where they are going and who they are going to hang out with? No.
But if a Muslim girl were to go out. She would get asked, with whom? Where are you going? When will you be coming back?
Referring back to my masjid’s youth group discussion, we brought up the topic of how our brothers are treated in our family vs. how we are treated in our family. Many girls brought up the fact that their brothers are never questioned about where they are going and come and go out of the house as they please.
Many girls referenced times they were denied being able to hang out with their friends because they just “needed to stay at home.” Much of these double standards trace back to how our parents were raised with the daughters learning how to cook and clean with their mothers and the sons going to help their fathers with the business.
Even as we grow older and our family’s “rules” start to fall out, we still see some of the stereotypes present within our families, for example; one my friends told me that her dad said she couldn’t be an engineer because “that’s a man’s job.”
My head felt dizzy as my brain filled with all sorts of arguments as to why that was so untrue. I thought of Zahra Khan, a Muslim, female, aerospace engineer and many others within my own community that were biomedical engineers, civil engineers, etc.
It’s time for our generation to denounce the discreet, but very much heard arguments about our young Muslim women. It’s time to explain why these hurtful words could be negatively impacting our bright futures.
Let’s encourage these Muslim women to go out a change the world in a positive way. Because we matter too.
Written by Nuha Vora.